26 January 2007

King Parrot or Alisterus scapularis

Peek-a-boo King Parrot.

Beautiful birds aren't they? Beautiful but pesky in orchards. Most years we don't get any of the fruit off this apple tree. They are all eaten before they ripen.

Birds, up to a dozen at a time, congregate, feast and party here amongst our fruit trees. After three years of drought the birds number have decreased dramatically and this fellow was all alone.

King Parrots are fruit eaters and can sometimes be a menace to growers who are trying to make a living from supplying fruit. We, however, are not in that position and we welcome the bird life and are willing to share with them; even though apples certainly weren't part of their native diet. They like to eat seeds of eucalypts and acacias, berries, other fruits, nuts, nectar, blossoms and leaf buds - so a fairly wide diet which includes apples without any trouble at all

These birds can become quite tame and will happily feed near you, whilst keeping a wary eye on what you are up to. Look at these photos and you will see
what I mean. This one is a male because he has that gorgeous red head and chest. We usually have 8 or so living here fairly permanently but with the drought we have noticed the numbers dropping considerably. In fact we have very few birds around. I hope they have flown away to better areas and haven't perished here because of lack of food and water. The local blossom trees have finished and the exotic ones in my garden have shrivelled and dropped their buds and fruits. Our local creek is now dry. We do still have water in our dams but have noticed that the birds prefer to drink from smaller bird baths scattered around the place than attempt to drink from large open areas.

Click here to learn more about King Parrots

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